Appendix: Research Methods and Ethical Dilemmas
When I first visited Guatemala in the summer of 2006, I was struck by the
number of ngos I encountered; I became interested in the role of foreign-­
funded organizations in local understandings and practices of development,
especially in a country so dramatically influenced by foreign intervention
throughout its history. Thereafter, I focused my trips on conducting key infor-
mant interviews with ngo leaders, journalists, and government officials about
the role of development ngos, participant observations with women’s ngos,
and archival searches related to women, development, and ngos. Based on
this research, I selected Namaste and the Fraternity for my comparative anal-
ysis, because while they were similar in terms of scale, activities, and target
populations, they embodied diverging international trends in the field of de-
velopment and ngos and provided windows into Guatemala’s overlapping
development histories.
Thereafter, I coupled ethnographies at Namaste and the Fraternity’s in-
terfaces with analyses of ngo archives and with informal and formal inter-
views with funders, policymakers, ngo leaders, workers, and beneficiaries.
Interviews with developers that focused on personal and organizational tra-
jectories, alongside data gleaned from ngo archives, were crucial to under-
standing the sources and nature of development models, values, structures,
and networks. Participation in staff meetings, informal conversations, and
observations of developers’ and beneficiaries’ interactions revealed how these
organizational characteristics were interpreted, put into practice, and adjusted
on a daily basis by diverse people. I was able to analyze the ways that policy-
makers, leaders, and workers talked about their work and about beneficiaries,
as well as the quotidian ways that they enacted development models alongside
their own meanings and goals and variously interpreted and reproduced or-
ganizational characteristics through their interactions with beneficiaries and
materials.
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